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[dc]“S[/dc]hout out, do not hold back! Lift up your voice like a trumpet!” said the prophet Isaiah, which we read in church on Sunday, but nobody shouted. We are flatlanders, brought up to be still and behave ourselves and listen to instructions, but if the instruction is to shout out and raise your voice, wait to see if other people do it and then, depending on which ones do, maybe do it yourself but quietly. And we are Episcopalian so what would we shout? A poem by Mary Oliver? A recipe for bouillabaisse?

trump ducktail

I was provoked last week to wonder where I would go if Democrats hand over the White House and the Current Occupant remains for sixteen or twenty years until he’s in his mid-thirties and I thought, “Iceland.”

I would shout, “God help us and do it soon.” I was provoked last week to wonder where I would go if Democrats hand over the White House and the Current Occupant remains for sixteen or twenty years until he’s in his mid-thirties and I thought, “Iceland.” England is an obvious choice but I don’t understand Brits when they talk and Icelanders speak beautiful English. I was in Reykjavik once, driving around, lost, and saw a large white home by the sea and walked up and knocked on the door and it was opened by the president of Iceland. It was his home. He told me how to get back to my hotel. He spoke perfect English, of course. Imagine knocking on the door of a white house and it’s opened by the C.O. The thought is depressing, not to mention his English.

But the Sunday service moved on to the confession of sins and I thought of my unfair bias against pop music of the past thirty years and the replacement of melody and harmony with rapping and tapping and my shameful bias against people with tattoos. This is wrong of me to dismiss my fellow creatures just because, on a crazy impulse years ago, they had enormous orange flames inscribed on their left shoulder. Or the young woman I saw in the grocery last week with green leaves tattooed on her neck. Just because she imagined herself as a trellis is no reason to look down on her. Someday I may be in a vegetative state myself and I hope people are no less kind for that.

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I confessed this to Almighty God to Whom all desires are known and from Whom no secrets are hid, including my envy of a friend who lives in a majestic house with umber tile floors and rattan carpets atop a hill overlooking the blue Pacific, which he earned by cranking out mindless TV shows in which unattractive people snarl at each other to the accompaniment of a laugh track, which enables him to jet down to Brazil and hike into the rain forest and have more fun than I do and so I entertain hopes that he will fall off a ledge into a slough and be bitten by poisonous fish and catch a rare fish-transmitted disease that leaves the victim feeling lethargic and stupefied and for which the only cure seems to be fasting, chastity, and immersion in cold water. I imagine visiting him to express my insincere sympathy. I confessed the sin of envy but as you can see it is a continuing problem.

On my way home I remembered more sins, including a loathing of braggarts who cannot bring themselves to ever admit being wrong and a strong intolerance of ducktails on older men. I know of a man who is very committed to maintaining the swoop of hair with distinct comb tracks behind each ear, touching them up every fifteen minutes or so even though he is allegedly fully employed. I knew boys in high school sixty years ago who were dedicated to their hair but the habit tends to fade as one acquires children, wives, debts, etc. Barack Obama has zero-maintenance hair, unimpeachably so. Nobody imagines him spending time doing his makeup and sculpting his hair. The gentleman in question is also the biggest braggart in the history of America. When you hear him spout off about his perfections and you see the duck marks on his head, there is a cognitive dissonance like the sound of a stack of china dropped on a concrete floor.

Be that as it shall be, I am thinking that Iceland may be worth a look. My people left Yorkshire in 1774 and came here and it’s been good but eventually things run their course. Next Sunday in church I will say a prayer for the man and for his hair. I think baldness would be good. He is bald-faced so why not the top too?


Garrison Keillor
Prairie Home Productions